Another 2023 Popsugar Reading Challenge book checked off! A month or so ago, my friend Alexis posted on Facebook about The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice by Benjamin Gilmer (Ballantine Books, 2022). Alexis is one of the most intelligent people I know, and when it comes to nonfiction, she and I share similar tastes, so I checked out the Goodreads page for the book and immediately added it to my TBR. It fits the Popsugar category for a book recommended by a friend, so I was thrilled to dive into it, and it didn’t disappoint whatsoever.
Upon interviewing and later accepting a job at a rural North Carolina medical practice, Dr. Benjamin Gilmer was surprised to learn that the doctor who created the vacancy he would be filling was also named Dr. Gilmer (Vince Gilmer, to be exact), and that he was no longer in that position because he was imprisoned for murdering his father. At first, Benjamin was fairly terrified of this other Dr. Gilmer, who seemingly snapped, murdering his elderly father with Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia, cutting off his fingers and discarding them in a pond outside the clinic, then returning to work and working alongside his co-workers as though nothing had happened. Who was this man? Would he ever get out and come after Benjamin for taking over his life?
But the more Benjamin Gilmer learns about this other Dr. Gilmer, the more intrigued he is. Something’s off. Something’s wrong. Dr. Gilmer had blamed his behavior on SSRI discontinuation syndrome when he represented himself in court, but the defense accused him of faking his symptoms. Benjamin Gilmer knows it’s got to be more than that, and with the help of colleagues, the mystery unfolds piece by piece until it becomes clear: prison isn’t where this other Dr. Gilmer needs to be. He desperately needs medical attention, and getting access to it will be a years-long struggle for not only him, but for Benjamin and an entire team of people across the country.
Holy COW, this book is a wild ride, and whatever you’re expecting, it’s likely something different. The book takes a turn about halfway through, and I just kind of sat back and went, “Whoooooaaaaaaaaa.” Benjamin Gilmer goes from panic mode to dedicated seeker of justice, and…it’s inspiring as much as the forces working against Vince Gilmer are infuriating. This is one of those books that will have you seeing red and determined to do whatever you can to burn our entire ‘justice’ system down and rebuild it from scratch. This is something that has needed to happen for decades – likely centuries, honestly – and The Other Dr. Gilmer is another large piece of evidence that what we call justice in this country is anything but just.
The Other Dr. Gilmer is an incredible read (and it’s becoming a movie!). It’s my first five-star read of 2023, and it’s one that will stick with me.
3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice by Benjamin Gilmer”
I’ve never heard about this before but I’m really intrigued and I want to know what made you go “Whoooooaaaaaaaaa.” 😂 Should be interesting for sure!
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This was SO good, and it went from edge-of-your-seat-creepy to sad and touching SUPER fast. I’m so, so very glad I learned about this book from my friend, because it was truly an incredible read!